Practice Development Quick Reads for August 2016

How to Make Presentation Slides That Win You More Business

The quality of your presentation slides is far more important than you think. For both client pitches and seminars, the purpose of using projected visuals is to lock in audience interest, period. Data and text should be distributed in handouts that support the main idea in each slide. This is as true when the audience is made up of General Counsel whose work you’re seeking as it is when you’re in front of other professionals you’re seeking to cultivate as referral sources. Learn how to design presentation slides that lock in that critical audience interest here.

How to Finally, Really Break Bad Habits

In the ever-expanding world of self-help resources (much of which is well-intentioned pablum), Travis Bradberry reliably provides research-based guidance for those who are serious about improving their personal and professional success. A pioneer in the application of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace, Bradberry explains three phases of behavioral pattern change and how to work with them. So pick one of your habits that causes you problems or discomfort (e.g., not getting billing out on time, procrastinating, avoiding difficult issues with your team) and put this simple construct to work. (Unsurprising Warning: It’s simple, but it ain’t easy.)

What Prospective Business Clients and Referral Sources Need to See From You

Long-time SuccessTips readers have heard me say it for over a decade: if you’re genuinely in the running to be hired by a business for significant legal work, you’ve already passed the legal qualifications test; the decision maker has already deemed you and your firm as capable attorneys. So what are prospective clients looking for from you?  I like how succinctly Sally Schmidt says it: “. . . clients care more about what you know about their business than what you know about the law.” And while most lawyers give lip service to this assertion, they tend to take less action on it than they should because a) it takes time, and b) they’re not sure how to go about it. Sally lists 13 ways to deepen your understanding of your client’s business in her article Lawyer, Know Thy Client. Do these and watch what happens.

Business Acronym of the Month: CRAP

CRAP: Chronologically Random Ascending Pile. Most of us succumb to CRAP, some constantly, some occasionally.  The dangers of CRAP are legion and obvious, so I won’t enumerate them here. Fortunately, there are basically only two dimensions to reducing the CRAP in your office: using effective organizational tools (both digital and analog), and the mindset to retrain your behaviors that create CRAP. See How to Finally, Really Break Bad Habits, above. In case you feel hopeless about this, consider hiring a professional organizer. Use my online scheduler if you’d like to talk about the value of an organizer and how to find a good one.

Alternative to Last Month’s Acronym

Thanks to reader Matt Stone for his alternative version of PEBKAC. I like his better as it makes the subject of the problem — the person — even clearer: PEBCAK — Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard.

About the Author

Bill Jawitz, Law Firm Coach and Consultant

Bill Jawitz has been coaching lawyers to become more profitable and enjoy a higher quality of life since 2002.

He can be reached at or at 203.806.1300.

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